Trump is planning to sneak away to Florida instead of attending the Biden inauguration, FAA data reveals
- President Donald Trump appears to be heading south to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida instead of attending Joe Biden's inauguration.
- The Federal Aviation Administration issued temporary flight restrictions over the private club for January 20, indicating the president's arrival.
- One of Trump's final tweets confirmed suspicions that he wouldn't be at the Biden inauguration.
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President Donald Trump appears to be traveling to a warmer climate instead of attending the inauguration of Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Flight restrictions were just issued for the skies above Palm Beach, Florida by the Federal Aviation Administration for January 20, indicating the president will head south on his last day in office and skip the traditional Capitol send-off by choppering out of Washington on Marine One.
Palm Beach is home to Trump's Mar-a-Lago private club; it's become the winter White House during his administration - and his frequent retreat spot. Trump has spent 133 days at the club, according to an NBC News tracker, and has held summits there with world leaders there including Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Trump changed his address to Palm Beach in October 2019, the New York Times reported, and is said to be moving there permanently following his time in office.
The move is in line with one of the president's final tweets from his personal Twitter account, where he stated in no uncertain terms that he would not be attending Biden's inauguration.
"To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," Trump said in a now-hidden tweet. (Twitter suspended the president's personal account on January 8 after the Capitol riots.)
The White House did not immediately respond to Insider's request for confirmation of the president's travel plans.
Protecting the president while travelling
The FAA issues what it calls temporary flight restrictions whenever the president and vice president leave Washington. Pilots are typically not allowed to fly within a few kilometres of the president's location without authorisation when the restrictions are in place.
The new restrictions start at 10:45 a.m. on January 20, at which point pilots won't be able to fly within 10 nautical miles and 18,000 feet of Palm Beach International Airport. The restrictions will expire at noon, when the president's term ends. Mar-a-Lago sits mere feet from the approach path to the airport's easterly runways.
A separate flight restriction was issued for the skies directly above Mar-a-Lago, but they're less stringent. From 11:30 a.m. on January 20 until 12:30 p.m. on January 21, pilots won't be able to fly within 3 nautical miles and 3,000 feet of the club.
Local flight schools near Palm Beach have been languishing under the presidential airspace restrictions as general aviation aircraft on training flights are typically prohibited from operating within the restricted airspace or departing from airports below. Flight schools lose an estimated $30,000 on weekends when President Trump visits and $50,000 on long weekends, according to the Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association.
Trump's visits to Palm Beach became so frequent that the federal government began reimbursing flight schools for lost revenue. Aid in the amount of $3.5 million was included in a 2019 spending bill for general aviation operators affected by the president's travels.
Trump has rarely left the White House in January, barring a few trips to Georgia on the campaign trail for Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, and a final visit to Texas. A rare weekend trip to Camp David was planned for just two days after the US Capitol Building riots, a White House official confirmed to Insider, but the trip was later scrubbed.
And while the transition of power will be peaceful, the president may not be going silently aboard Air Force One into his post-political life. A departure ceremony is reportedly being planned at Andrews Air Force Base for Trump, according to USA Today, with as much pomp and circumstance as the series finale of a television show.
A color guard and 21-gun salute are on the agenda, USA Today reported.
Vice President Mike Pence, who had sparred with Trump in the days surrounding the Electoral College certification, is said to be attending the inauguration.
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